A to Z of Derbyshire - Letter ‘D’

PUBLISHED: 09:00 30 May 2014 | UPDATED: 10:09 17 June 2014

Derby Cathedral

Derby Cathedral


‘D’ stands for Dane Valley, Dovedale and the Derwent... Gary Wallis continues his alphabetic tour of Derbyshire and the Peak District

Dean Rocks, SaddleworthDean Rocks, Saddleworth

River Dane and The Dane Valley

The River Dane rises from its source on Axe Edge Moor and flows across the Cheshire Plains. For some ten miles of its course it forms the border between Cheshire, Derbyshire and Staffordshire. This photograph was taken whilst walking the Dane Valley Way near Gig Hall just south of Danebridge. This long distance footpath runs for over 40 miles from the Pavilion Gardens in Buxton to Middlewich and follows the course of the river wherever possible.

Darley Bridge

This ancient bridge, dating back to at least 1504, crosses the River Derwent and was once an important packhorse route for trade in the area. The Darley Bridge picnic site just north of the bridge is located on the Derwent Valley Heritage Way footpath, a 55-mile long distance route which begins at Ladybower Reservoir and finishes at Borrowash on the outskirts of Derby.

Dean Rocks near Saddleworth

This impressive escarpment rises above Dovestone and Yeoman Hey reservoirs which lie on the North West boundary of the Peak District National Park. The picnic area at Alderman’s Brow opposite the rocks is a perfect spot to enjoy the view eastwards across the reservoirs to lofty crags that reach a height of almost 1,500 ft (457m).

Deep Dale near Chelmorton

Linked to Horseshoe and Back Dales, this lesser known dell has recently been designated as an SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest). The dale is a tributary of the main Wye Valley and, being less frequented, is well worth a visit for its peace and tranquillity.

Darley Dale

As sunset approached on a cold day in December, the mist slowly crept across the fields from the nearby River Derwent as I stood to take this photograph. The town dates back to the 12th century when a Benedictine Abbey was built here. It flourished in the 19th and 20th centuries as the lead mining and smelting industries grew. The Whitworth Centre – part of Sir Joseph Whitworth’s legacy – was opened around 1890. The churchyard of St Helen’s, built in the 14th century, is home to an ancient yew tree. Its exact age is unknown but experts agree it is at least 700 years old with some believing it may be 2,000 years old.

Derby Cathedral

Achieving cathedral status in 1927, All Saints’ was founded by King Edmund I around 943 AD. Unfortunately none of the original structure remains and the current building dates from the 14th century. The tower is 212 feet high (65m) and was completed between 1510 and 1530. The church was further renovated in 1725 and most recently enlarged in 1972. The cathedral is one of the city’s finest landmarks.


Known throughout the United Kingdom and internationally for Denby Pottery, the village lies about three miles south-east of Belper. The pottery was established over 200 years ago in 1809. The village has several other claims to fame including being the birthplace of the first Astronomer Royal, John Flamsteed, as well as the subject of a hymn written in 1904 appropriately entitled ‘Denby’.

Derwent Edge

Derwent Edge has it all: one of the finest walks in the Peak, an area of special interest for nature lovers and geologists, superb panoramic views and stunning landscapes for photographers. Rising high above Ladybower and Derwent reservoirs, the lofty moorland reaches a height of 1,765ft (538m) at Back Tor. The edge is interspersed with many interesting gritstone tors with exotic names including The Cakes of Bread, The Salt Cellar and The Wheel Stones. Some of the moorland around the edge has been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to its rich vegetation and wildlife which includes the red grouse, ring ouzel and mountain hare.

Derwent Reservoir

One of the three reservoirs in the Upper Derwent Valley, Derwent Reservoir is situated between Howden to the north and Ladybower to the south. At full capacity the lake covers 175 acres (70.8 hectares) and is 114ft (34.7m) at its deepest point. The reservoir is also famous as the training area for 617 squadron, the ‘Dambusters’ during the Second World War. Work began on the construction of the reservoir in 1902 and by November 1914 the lake had been filled. The first overflow into Ladybower Reservoir occurred in January 1916. Lovely at any time of the year, Derwent Reservoir is especially beautiful in the autumn months as illustrated in this photograph.


The village and its association with the Dethick family dates back to at least 1228 and it is historically significant for its connection with the Babington plot of 1586. Anthony Babington of Dethick Manor was executed for his part in the plan to rescue Mary Queen of Scots who had been imprisoned by her cousin, Queen Elizabeth I, and put her on the throne.

Dethick church, St John the Baptist’s, was formerly a private chapel for Dethick Manor. It was constructed in the early 13th century and Anthony Babington was responsible for extending the church between 1530 and 1532. From the churchyard there are wonderful views of the surrounding countryside and a small bench in the grounds provides the perfect spot to soak in the panorama and enjoy some quiet contemplation.


This beautiful limestone dale is one of the most popular natural features in the Peak District National Park and attracts over a million visitors per year. Owned by the National Trust, the ravine runs for three miles from Milldale in the north to Thorpe Cloud in the south. The dale will also be forever associated with Izaak Walton and his friend Charles Cotton in the classic book ‘The Compleat Angler’, first published in 1653. Archaeologists have discovered evidence of human habitation in Dovedale’s caves dating back to 13,000 BC and Neolithic farmers utilised the caves as tombs some 4,500 years ago.

Dovedale Church

This limestone outcrop is situated just upstream from Tissington Spires. There are over 30 climbing routes on the crag with interesting and amusing names including Pogles’ Wood, Bob Hope, Snakes Alive and Tales of the Riverbank.

Digley Reservoir

Situated on the eastern boundary of the Peak District National Park, Digley Reservoir lies just west of Holmfirth. There are fine walks in the area from the car park at Digley Wood that overlooks the lake.

Dove Holes

In the northern stretch of Dovedale, Dove Holes are two large shallow caves located opposite Hall Dale. The larger of the two caves is around 60 feet wide and 30 feet high.

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